'You can only do this so long before you get tired and wore out.' Road crews on mandatory overtime patching potholes

Posted at 6:39 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 18:39:32-04

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ)  — Dodging potholes can feel like a professional sport in Michigan this time of year, but crews across metro Detroit say they have been working around the clock to smooth out the roads.

“You can only do this so long before you get tired and wore out,” says Jerry Gootee who works at the Oakland County Road Commission.

Gootee says for more than a month he has been working 12 hour days, 6-7 days a week.

“Yes, it has been a really long season. Everyone is working hard. Everybody is tired”

Gootee and his crew have been on mandatory overtime, scooping out, plopping down, and smoothing out asphalt. It’s a routine Emily Kizer with the Washtenaw County Road commissioner says seems to be nonstop.

“I think it’s fair to say pothole season this year started earlier than in previous years,” says Kizer.

According to Kizer, the roads started to crumble at the beginning of winter with the bulk of the repairs happening in February and now March. The fluctuating temps are only making things worse.

“We also have rain in the forecast for this weekend a pretty good amount and that will just start it all over again," says Kizer

Fixing, and re-fixing roads are expensive. Kizer says each year Washtenaw budgets $1-3 million for road repairs and right now it is quickly approaching three. Oakland County carves out $5 million.

“If we continue at this rate for much longer, we will definitely exceed that 5 million,” says Craig Bryson a representative with the Oakland County Road Commission.

With her pledge to fix the roads, Governor Whitmer’s Rebuilding Michigan plan would give $3.5 billion towards fixing roads with quote the right mix and materials.

“This is something that we have to center our efforts and we have to get politics out of the question so we can move dirt and get things done,” says Governor Whitmer.

Gootee says as the work comes he’s ready.

“It’s a job I working, I’m thankful,” says Gootee.

The worker you see patching potholes on the side of the road are oftentimes the same people plowing the streets to remove snow. It’s a tiring job, but everyone I spoke with today says the way you can help, is to give them space and pay attention when driving.